The Country Guesthouse by Robyn Carr Read Online (FREE)
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Forever—is composed of nows.
Hannah Russell loved the rented cabin she and her colleagues were staying in—it was exquisite. The upscale, relatively new five bedroom/five bath house was in the woods on a lake and had a huge deck from which there was an amazing view of the Rockies. Well, during the day when the sun was out. Just now it was raining. Make that sleeting. By morning there might be nothing but a sheet of ice covering everything. For tonight, there was a blazing fire, and a mixture of rain and ice pelting against the roof and windows.
The cabin was the only part of this retreat she loved. It was her company’s leadership training and team building retreat. Her third one. And she was over it.
Hannah’s boss was really into organizing these professional growth retreats off campus, far away from their daily grind. Of course, he didn’t attend—but he sent his executives and their teams. Their cell phones and laptops were collected upon arrival, the TVs were not turned on, no radios allowed, no contact with the outside world. They were forced to communicate face-to-face and leave their workaday worlds behind. Dave, director of marketing, said, “I had less withdrawal in drug treatment.” Then there were a series of group sessions and exercises. Hannah, you’re going to fold your hands over your chest and let yourself fall backward, trusting Tim to catch you. This was quite challenging as she didn’t trust Tim to respond to an email in a timely manner. And when he finally did, it would lack accurate information. The only thing about Tim she was sure of was that he would take her job if he had an opportunity.
Of course, Tim didn’t catch Hannah. “I think I broke my tailbone,” she said, rubbing her behind. “I’ll need an ambulance. Someone call an ambulance.”
“We’re not allowed to use our phones,” Tim said.
There had been a time or two she had to admit she actually got something out of one of the retreats, but it was usually no more than she could get out of a book, blog or TED Talk. It usually depended on the effectiveness of the moderator. If the moderator was motivating, inventive, experienced and encouraging, there could be some bonding and a few principles to take back to the job, helping them work together more efficiently. That was almost a bad thing—if their sales numbers went up, Peter, the CEO, thought the retreat made the difference and would instruct HR to schedule another one. But if their moderator was a thirty-year-old former beauty contestant in tight jeans who flirted with all of the male employees, like this one did, it was doomed.
This particular retreat was scheduled to last five nights. Hannah and the moderator, the only women, each had their own bedrooms while the men doubled up. The large two-story house with a loft also had a library, a bar and a wine cellar. The bar and wine cellar were locked. On the second night, Todd, Wayne and Dave were in one of the bedrooms passing around a couple of joints while Tim quite noisily banged the moderator in the master suite.